update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Tehran flooding Judea and Samaria with weapons, Iranian officials tell NYT

2023 saw a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks in the area which has escalated since Hamas started the Oct. 7 Gaza war.

Armed Palestinian terrorists during a parade in the Balata camp in the Samaria city of Nablus, Sept. 29, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Armed Palestinian terrorists during a parade in the Balata camp in the Samaria city of Nablus, Sept. 29, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

As the Israel Defense Forces fight Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, the Iranian regime continues to foment violence in Judea and Samaria by flooding the territory with weapons, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing officials in Washington, Jerusalem and Tehran.

Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks in 2023 compared to the previous year, with shootings reaching the highest level since the Second Intifada of 2000-05, according to Israeli military data.

The violence has continued to escalate since Hamas started a war with its murderous rampage across the northwestern Negev last year. Since Oct. 7, at least eight Israelis have been murdered in Judea and Samaria.

Iranian officials told the Times that Tehran had not singled out one particular terrorist organization it would support with firearms and ammunition, choosing instead to inundate the area with weapons.

The majority of the weapons smuggled into Judea and Samaria are small arms and assault rifles, analysts said. However, the U.S. and Israeli officials charged that the Islamic Republic is also smuggling advanced weaponry, including anti-tank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Iranians explained that one smuggling route goes through Syria and Jordan. From Jordan, they are transferred to Bedouin smugglers and criminal gangs, who move them over the border to Judea and Samaria.

One of the officials said increased border security since Oct. 7 by both Israel and Jordan has raised the risk of getting caught for the Bedouins and Arab Israelis, who play a critical role in the smuggling scheme.

A more challenging route skips Jordan and takes the guns from Syria to Lebanon, U.S. officials said. From there, the weapons are smuggled into Israel, from where criminal groups move them to Judea and Samaria.

Last month, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) revealed that it had thwarted Iranian attempts in recent months to smuggle advanced weapons into Judea and Samaria. These shipments were to be delivered to terror operatives in the territory for use against Israeli targets.

According to the Shin Bet, Unit 4000 of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Special Operations Division and Unit 18840 of the IRGC’s Quds Force in Syria were involved in the smuggling plot.

According to the statement, the ISA and IDF will continue working to locate additional weapons smuggled into Judea and Samaria and to kill and capture terrorist cells recruited by Iranian operatives.

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